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Static vs Dynamic Characters

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 10:28 am
by Lauriert
So this is just sharing some thoughts on character creation from an rp perspective. There are two main types of characters created, static and dynamic.

Static characters are characters made for a certain guild or build and their personality is sort of molded around whatever they were made to do. Static characters tend to not be very subject to change and development and tend to stay much the same regardless of what happens, hence their name. I'm not saying characters created like this never ever change, just that the player tends to want to play the predetermined path no matter what changes. These types of characters tend to be created because a player wants to play a certain guild.

Dynamic characters are characters for whom a personality and backstory are established at creation and they are subject to change, their guild and build choices being based off their personality and experiences. They'll go with whatever their development says, and these characters tend to be far more interesting to interact with because your interactions can actually have a meaningful effect on them. Now some characters who were built to be the static characters I mentioned above can become dynamic, but I'm thinking it's usually a product of the mentality in which the character was created.

I'm not really criticizing anyone here, just giving thoughts about characters.

Re: Static vs Dynamic Characters

Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:29 am
by Israfel
I’ll confess to being somewhat obsessed with storycraft and character arcs. I refer to your static characters as iconic but the meaning is similar. However, I think it’s all in the player’s control and that you can shift gears between the two for your character.

I think of it like this:
Iconic characters change the world while dynamic characters are changed by it. The two play off each other really well and its most fun when you feel like you can shift gears over time and when the game has a good balance of both.

Dynamic Characters
I personally enjoy playing characters dynamically for the most part, especially starting character creation at a really basic level. Playing like this for me meant being guildless for a long time before my character changed enough to fit into one. It was fun and a great way to learn about the game world and various guilds, but it’s not like jumping right into the action.

That said, playing dynamically too much can get fatiguing for you and others. Other players need to be able to witness your character changing and adjust to them. Maybe they too will be changed by it. When everyone is playing the protagonist of their own story, it can get a bit much.

During the last live quest, a number of dynamic characters all went through massive character growth at the same time in addition to the external world conflict changing massively. Quite a few people ended up with roleplay fatigue after this I think.

Iconic Characters
On the other end of the scale, I think iconic characters deserve a bit of praise. They are great catalysts for character growth in others, especially anyone playing dynamically. There were times playing Srik where I just needed an iconic taniel priest, crusader or deathpriest to shove him off the fence and force him into an ultimatum.

Iconic characters are also really useful because they can flawlessly bring the Geas world to life without having to go through dynamic character growth to get there. Sometimes you just want to see a Lilithian doing what Lilithians do with ultra-competence because your character needs a twisted role model. For dynamic players, iconic characters make great antagonists and guild leaders.

And of course, while iconic characters are out to change the world, the biggest win is collecting dynamic characters to their ways.

My personal approach is periodically move between dynamic and iconic play. For dynamic play I’ll generally plan ahead to let my character be changed if certain conditions are met. Then I drop a few clues through roleplay and see what people respond with. If the conditions are met I’ll pull out some big dynamic changes that I hope other people will find rewarding.

At other times I’ll reach a place with character growth where I want to make them more iconic, take a breath, let them settle and let others adjust. Maybe I don’t have time to think up the next possible chapters of their story, or I’ve just reached one of those points where it’s enjoyable to be a catalyst for others. At these points I’ll usually resist big character change unless there are good reasons not to.